Monday, March 26, 2012

American Bible Society Lectio Divina for Sunday, 25 March 2012

From The American Bible Society:

American Bible Society
Having trouble reading this?
Large Print Version Print this page
March 25, 2012
Fifth Sunday of Lent
This is a reminder to continue in your daily Lectio Divina Scripture reading. We’ve included the content again for you, to make it easier for you to continue to engage with God’s Word.


John 12:20-33 (Good News Translation)
20 Some Greeks were among those who had gone to Jerusalem to worship during the festival. 21 They went to Philip (he was from Bethsaida in Galilee) and said, “Sir, we want to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew, and the two of them went and told Jesus. 23 Jesus answered them, “The hour has now come for the Son of Man to receive great glory. 24 I am telling you the truth: a grain of wheat remains no more than a single grain unless it is dropped into the ground and dies. If it does die, then it produces many grains. 25 Those who love their own life will lose it; those who hate their own life in this world will keep it for life eternal. 26 Whoever wants to serve me must follow me, so that my servant will be with me where I am. And my Father will honor anyone who serves me. 27 Now my heart is troubled—and what shall I say? Shall I say, “Father, do not let this hour come upon me”? But that is why I came—so that I might go through this hour of suffering. 28 Father, bring glory to your name! ” Then a voice spoke from heaven, “I have brought glory to it, and I will do so again.” 29 The crowd standing there heard the voice, and some of them said it was thunder, while others said, “An angel spoke to him!” 30 But Jesus said to them, “It was not for my sake that this voice spoke, but for yours. 31 Now is the time for this world to be judged; now the ruler of this world will be overthrown. 32 When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to me. ” ( 33 In saying this he indicated the kind of death he was going to suffer.)


This Sunday, the last before Holy Week, the readings in our liturgy are so rich and deep that each of them would deserve an individual lectio. Perhaps, our approach today should leave apart our usual routine and follow a different pattern. Let’s consider our texts as a set of small pieces which we can put together to create our own biblical “mosaic”. First, the context of the reading from John’s Gospel is extremely important. It is placed after three meaningful events: Lazarus’ death and resurrection (11:1-44), which provokes the intrigue to kill Jesus (11:45-57); Jesus’ anointment in Bethany, an announcement of his death and burial (12:1-10); and his triumphal entry in Jerusalem as king of Zion (12:12-19). From this moment on, we can say that we have entered the Passion as such. The different sections of the passage deal with death and life, both in a physical and symbolic sense; with Jesus’ attitude about his Father’s will; with the attitude he demands from those who believe in him; and with the attitude of disbelief of those who surround him and “walk in darkness”. Jesus’ words about the grain of wheat refer not only to his own death and its significance, but also about the meaning of the death of those who follow him and will share his life, death and resurrection. His feelings about his coming passion are so deeply human, that he experiences real trouble in his heart, the same the other evangelists describe in detail in his prayer in Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46, and parallel texts in Mark and Luke). Even if he fears “that hour” and knows quite well what the Father’s will and plans imply, he freely accepts them: “he learnt through his sufferings to be obedient” (Hebrews 5:8). The paradox, as usual, is that his death is at the same time the moment of his glory. Just like in his Baptism and Transfiguration, the Father’s voice confirms him as the Dear Son. Even if the crowd cannot grasp the significance of the voice, it means the end of the power of the lord of this world. The fact of being “lifted” onto the cross (which anticipates his being “raised” from the tomb) will draw all men to him; amongst them, the Greeks who want to see him, even if they do not know the symbolic role they play. There is, however, a difference between them and those who will look for him after his resurrection. These Gentiles, just like the Jews who surround Jesus, walk in the dark, even if the true Light of the World is among them. By contrast, Jeremiah’s prophecy will be fulfilled in those who will follow Jesus: in the time of the New Covenant in Jesus’ blood, those who believe in him will not need to be taught about the Lord or ask to be led to him, for they will all know both him and the Father, from the least to the greatest. The last element we should take into account in our reflection is the following section in chapter 12 (not read in our liturgy). In it, John shows the people divided between those who do not believe because they refuse to recognize God’s presence in Jesus, and those who believe in him but do not dare to follow him for fear of the authorities: “they loved human approval rather than the approval of God” (verse 43). In any case, then and nowadays, Christ demands a response to his message and to himself.


Following Christ is not an easy task. From the beginning of his ministry, he underlined the important role treason, injustice, abandonment, torture and death would play in the fulfilment of his mission. We should pronounce aloud the same question he asked the sons of Zebedee, “Can you drink the cup that I am about to drink?” ( Matthew 20:22), and see if we are ready to answer “Yes”. Our society praises success in any realm of life (profession, economy, sports, politics…) Is that the standard or criterion we use when evaluating our evangelical mission of announcing the Gospel? Does abnegation, self-denial, play any role in our life? There are many “Greeks” around us, who would like to see the Lord: can our way of life, our evangelical approach to reality, the values we fight for, be a convincing image of Jesus’ face?


Pray for those who witness to the Lord in difficult conditions (missions, hostile environments, depressed areas) and have to suffer any kind of trouble (poverty, discrimination, abandonment), that they may feel the Lord close to them and understand that sharing his “crucifixion” is a way to share also his glory. Pray for those who struggle to meet and follow Jesus but are discouraged by the contradictions the see in our Christian life. Pray for yourself, that the Lord may give you an open heart to accept his saving grace and announce it with courage and humility.


“The world will make you suffer. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” (John 16:33). Read Jesus’ prayer in chapter 17, and remember that the Lord was perhaps thinking of you when he spoke to the Father.
Reflections written by Rev. Fr. Mariano Perrón Director of Inter-Religious Affairs Archdiocese of Madrid, Spain
© 2010 American Bible Society. All Rights Reserved. 1865 Broadway, New York, NY 10023-7505

No comments:

Post a Comment